Ex-Marine Fights Discharge Over Bible Verse on Her Desk

'No weapon formed against me shall prosper' spurred court-martial
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2015 10:27 AM CDT
Ex-Marine Fights Discharge Over Bible Verse on Her Desk
Ex-Marine Monifa Sterling says she had the right to post a Bible verse at her workstation.   (AP Photo/The Southern, Adam Testa)

A Bible verse posted at her workstation was supposed to help Monifa Sterling keep her cool with miffed co-workers. Instead, the ex-Marine was demoted, received a bad-conduct discharge, and is now appealing a court-martial, Military Times reports. The phrase that started the conflict: "No weapon formed against me shall prosper," slightly modified from Isaiah 57:14. After Sterling taped three copies of that verse on her computer, monitor, and desk in May 2013, her supervisor told her to take them down. "I don't like the tone," she says her supervisor said before tearing the postings down herself, per the Liberty Institute, a nonprofit representing Sterling in her appeal. Sterling reprinted the verses and put them back up, but they got taken down again.

But that's not where it ends. Sterling was court-martialed and convicted in February 2014 for refusing to obey a superior; she received a bad-conduct discharge and was lowered in rank from lance corporal to private, Fox News reports. Sterling says other people had sayings posted at their workstations and that the removal directive was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—an assertion the court didn't agree with, per the Blaze. Sterling's advocates say her discharge is unconstitutional, and somewhat ridiculous. "Our Marines are trained to deal with some of the most hostile people on the planet," a Liberty Institute lawyer tells Fox. "I don't think they are afraid of tiny words on a tiny piece of paper." Meanwhile, Sterling's status during her appeal? She's trying to find a non-military job and barred from veteran benefits, the Blaze notes. (Read more Bible stories.)

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